What to Expect in Your First Year of Nursing School

Preparation

Most schools require a background check, drug screening, certain immunizations and a medical check-up. Many schools also require CPR certification through the American Heart Association.

Supplies

Nursing textbooks can cost hundreds of dollars. First-year students also have to purchase uniforms and a stethoscope, among other equipment.

Studying

First-year students spend a great deal of time reading and reviewing for their classes. Since nurses deal with life-or-death situations, mastering the material taught in nursing school is essential for patient safety.

Clinicals

All nursing education programs include hands-on instruction, which is referred to as clinical time. Students learn patient care procedures and are evaluated by their instructors as they perform these skills.

Time Commitment

Nursing school is a full-time commitment. Classes and clinicals can add up to more than 40 hours weekly, not to mention the time spent studying outside of class. Organization and time management can be keys to success. According to the American Nurses Association, more than 65,000 new nurses were licensed in the first half of 2006. The first year is considered particularly hard, so knowing what to expect might make the going a little easier.